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Byron Shire
April 16, 2021

Petition urges Ballina council to reverse NBN tower decision

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Ballina Byron Gateway Airport. (file pic)
Ballina Byron Gateway Airport. (file pic)

Ballina shire council is being urged to reverse its decision to approve an NBN tower near the airport’s take off and landing zone.

Local pilots, business people and ratepayers have gathered more than 1000 signatures on a petition calling on the council to locate the tower elsewhere.

The petition was being handed to councillor Jeff Johnson this morning, who said he would present it at the next meeting of the council.

A majority of councillors voted to approve the tower despite council staff and the airport manager Neil Weatherson recommending that it be refused.

DickSmithAviation pioneer Dick Smith has also weighed into the debate calling for the tower to be located outside the airports take off and landing zone.

If it goes ahead, the 45-metre tower would be built at Dees Lane, Lynwood, and would provide wireless broadband to surrounding residents.

At the May meeting, councillors acknowleged that the tower would increase the risk of an accident and sort indemnities from NBN and it’s contractor Visionstream.

Keep Ballina Byron Airport Safe spokesperson Peter Carmont said ‘whichever way you look at it, and NBN’s own experts agree, the tower will breach the safety regulations’.

‘If safety is not an issue requiring significant consideration by Ballina Council why has the federal government just spent $ 13.5m building a fire station employing 17 officers at Ballina Airport?’ Mr Carmont said.

Cr Jeff Johnson. Photo Eve Jeffery.
Cr Jeff Johnson. Photo Eve Jeffery.

Cr Jeff Johnson, who voted against the approval, said he was happy to present the petition to the council.

‘Not only will the tower exceed the airports OLS (Obstacle Limitation Surfaces) but it will exceed it in the critical landing/take off zone, Cr Johnson said.

‘While it is conceded that it is unlikely that an aircraft would hit the tower, the OLS is there for a reason and council should be listening to the experts and maintaining the integrity of the airports landing zone.

‘If it is justified spending $13.5 million building a dedicated fire station at the airport then council should also be taking a precautionary approach to safety.’

‘There are other locations outside the airports OLS that need to be considered. I find it extraordinary that Council isn’t doing all it can to ensure that our airport meets CASA guidelines, said Mr. Johnson.

Numerous residents in the area surrounding the proposed tower had urged the council to approve it as it would improve internet access in the area.

 


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2 COMMENTS

  1. At what lengths will people go to gain wireless broadband?
    Some people want a wireless broadband tower in take off and landing zones of an airport.
    Is there an elephant in the room.
    Stick him at the end of the runway and put a red light on him.

  2. Hi Len.

    I agree, there is an elephant in the room here. It may not be what you think though.

    The elephant that really needs to be exposed here is a group of local residents around this tower who do not want this tower anywhere near them for aesthetic reasons. Some of these people seem prepared to hold the entire wider community ransom to their desires and are now prosecuting yet another misleading campaign in order to attain their real goal.

    The flyer this petition is based on is at best conveniently misleading. It claims that tower is in the middle of the flight path and shows a 2 dimensional map to support this. It is not. The tower is nearly 1000 feet below the flight path. Most reasonable people would sign a petition given only this misleading information to base their decision on. That is why the people opposing the tower have sought support from people outside the local area that do not yet have an understanding of the facts. It follows then that this petition is not worth the paper it was printed on.

    This current campaign is occurring after the same people previously attempted to mislead locals into joining an anti tower petition by offering fibre optic in lieu of a tower (never a possibility) and later becoming concerned about the wellbeing of Koalas at the back of farmland whilst suggesting a nearby nature reserve would be a more appropriate location.

    Make no mistake, this has nothing to do with aircraft safety. The issues around aircraft been painstakingly analysed by the relevant experts and a careful decision made. There are many such objects near almost all airports and this one is only different in that ironically it would make the approach zone safer because it would signpost the many non visible higher objects around it.

    Unfortunately, there is just nowhere else this tower can go, otherwise the wider community would be happy to to have it moved nearer to them. It has been deemed manageable and is being managed appropriately.

    Shame on these people and yourself too if you are part of this campaign.

    If you are not, I am sorry you have been mislead. Perhaps you should go and look at the facts that are available through the council before believing everything your read.

    Maybe then you too can then spot the real elephant.

    PS. 11km away is not at the end of the runway. This sort of hysterical comment does not do the credibility of your argument any good.

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